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Museum of Natural History Expansion on ‘Indefinite Hold’

Controversial Upgrade and Expansion No Longer Progressing


After a couple years of planning for an upgrade and expansion of its nearly 100-year-old facilities, the Board of Trustees for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History announced last week that the controversial plan has been put on “indefinite hold.” The letter, dated June 26 and signed by the museum’s president and CEO Luke Swetland, explained that the museum had begun analyzing the first phase of the project, and determined that “the timelines for fundraising and construction are not aligned with one another to the degree they need to be to enable us to proceed in the way we had envisioned.”

Additionally, Swetland wrote, “Moreover, as we have carefully studied the first phase of our project, the Museum has come to the conclusion that it does not showcase our scientific, programmatic and educational strengths as fully as it might.” Instead, the museum plans to study how to “better synchronize our fundraising efforts, our commitment to stewardship of our facilities, and our program goals in our near term activities.” Another update is expected in the fall.

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